Born as Isis Naija Gaston on January 1, 2000, Ice Spice hails from the Bronx, New York City. The oldest of five siblings, she grew up in the Fordham Road neighborhood, surrounded by a family deeply entrenched in the rhythms of the city and the world of music. Her father, a former underground rapper of African-American descent, and her Dominican mother, who was only 17 when Isis was born, set the stage for the young artist's immersion into hip-hop. She took a liking to the genre at age seven, inspired by industry heavyweights such as Lil' Kim, Nicki Minaj, Jay-Z, 50 Cent, and Wu-Tang Clan.
Poetry And Freestyle Raps
Her passion for hip-hop and her knack for rhyming led her to write poetry and freestyle raps from elementary school through high school, often typing out lyrics on her iPhone and rapping along to hip-hop instrumentals. The moniker Ice Spice was chosen in her freshman year of high school, a name that would soon resonate with millions.
Ice Spice's journey into higher education took her to the State University of New York at Purchase, where she studied communications and was a part of the school's volleyball team. However, she decided to drop out in her sophomore year, recognizing that she was not in the right place. She instead set her sights firmly on her music career, a decision that would prove pivotal.
First Big Break
The first major step in Ice Spice's career came in 2021 when she met record producer RiotUSA. Her initial breakthrough followed in 2022 with the viral hit "Munch (Feelin' U)," which caught fire on TikTok. Successive singles "Bikini Bottom" and "In Ha Mood" paved the way to her debut extended play, Like..? in 2023. Her collaboration with Lil Tjay, "Gangsta Boo", marked her first entry into the US Billboard Hot 100 chart, while remix singles, "Boy's a Liar Pt. 2" with PinkPantheress and "Princess Diana" with Nicki Minaj charted within the top five of the Hot 100.
Ice Spice: "Rap's New Princess"
Ice Spice's relaxed rapping style set her apart, with publications such as The New York Timesand Billboarddubbing her "rap's new princess." This notoriety was further cemented when she broke a Spotify record previously held by Nicki Minaj. As a guest feature on Taylor Swift's "Karma (Remix)", Ice Spice earned the biggest streaming debut for a female rapper in global Spotify history, reaching over 5 million streams on its release day and nearly doubling her total Spotify streams.
With her trailblazing successes, Ice Spice is redefining the boundaries of hip-hop. As a queer artist, she brings a unique perspective to her music, evident in songs like "Bikini Bottom". Whether working as a cashier at Wendy's and The Gap or creating chart-topping hits, Ice Spice is a testament to the power of following your passion and staying true to yourself.